I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood – Review

About The Book

I saw it. He smothered her, pressing his hands on her face. The police don’t believe me, they say it’s impossible – but I know what I saw.

Xander Shute – once a wealthy banker, now living on the streets – shelters for the night in an empty Mayfair flat. When he hears the occupants returning home, he scrambles to hide. Trapped in his hiding place, he hears the couple argue, and he soon finds himself witnessing a vicious murder.

But who was the dead woman, who the police later tell him can’t have been there? And why is the man Xander saw her with evading justice? 

As Xander searches for answers, his memory of the crime comes under scrutiny, forcing him to confront his long-buried past and the stories he’s told about himself.

How much he is willing to risk to understand the brutal truth?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy a book with an unreliable narrator and Xander, the lead character in this novel, was more unreliable than most. Every time I thought I found an explanation for what happened to the woman I was proved wrong.

Xander is living on the streets. Thirty years earlier he had an extremely comfortable life but turned his back on all of it.  Choosing a life of solitude and hardship over friends and comfort. It is only as you get into the second half of the novel that you even begin to understand the reasons why. Life on the streets is definitely one of the strongest and more thought provoking aspects of this novel. I had no idea what methods people who were unfortunate to live this way used to keep themselves warm. All of the novel made me think about the many reasons some people have to live on the streets. 

He was an extremely complex character. He somehow came across as independent but also needy. Probably due to his childhood, the death of his brother and his devotion to the ex girlfriend he still loved. Even as more about his life was revealed I felt that there was always something kept hidden from the reader but also from himself. Almost like he was unwilling to remember.

The details of what he saw were slowly revealed but there were plenty of twists. A few of these I will in no doubt be thinking about over the next few days, questioning whether my understanding was correct. 

Imran Mahmoud will be participating in First Monday Crime, – June alongside Jo Spain, Dorothy Koomson and Patricia Marques. As usual you can watch this on their Facebook page on Monday 7th June at 7.30pm

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